TITLE: The Hourglass Bridge
GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy
Midnight, 30th September, 1509
An hourglass stood on the altar stone in the centre of the clearing. Serena’s breath caught in her throat, as if she would never exhale again.
“Take the glass,” the witch instructed. “Turn it once and see that you have controlled time.”
It felt like ice in Serena’s trembling hand as she turned it. Beneath its surface, the rushing sands of time slowed to a trickle and were still.
Serena reached into her cloak pocket, reassuring herself that a second hourglass was tucked inside. It was her last remaining hope, but there was no guarantee she could deliver it into the right hands and every chance that the attempt would lead her into a trap. Serena swallowed dryly, fighting a wave of nausea at the thought. Such a betrayal would cost thousands of lives and rob her of her children… again.
She set the hourglass back upon the sacrificial rock.
“Alasdair,” the witch continued, “you too must control the passing of time.”
Serena glanced at her husband; his eyes, like hers, were wet. With slow, agonizing care, he completed his part of the spell. Then his hand found Serena’s and their fingers intertwined as they embraced this final, physical memory together. In marrying him, Serena had bound him to this fate. She wore her guilt like an open wound.
The witch smashed the glass against the altar stone and gathered a handful of ghostly white sand.
“Your palm,” she said softly. Serena raised it, and agony shot through her body.